×

The Consul of Sodom

The lechery, loves and literature of Spanish scribe Jaime Gil de Biedma receive pleasingly offbeat treatment in "The Consul of Sodom."

With:
With: Jordi Molla, Bimba Bose, Alex Brendemuhl, Josep Linuesa, Isaac de los Reyes, Alfonso Begara, Juli Mira, Vicky Pena.

The lechery, loves and literature of Spanish scribe Jaime Gil de Biedma receive pleasingly offbeat treatment in “The Consul of Sodom,” a biopic that depends on a compelling performance by Jordi Molla. Following its protag from the ’60s until his death from AIDS in 1990, the pic is an intriguing ride through the Barcelona arts scene of 30 years ago, but its bed-to-book-to-boardroom dynamic palls, leaving it short on dramatic clout. Still, this gorgeous-looking, sexually explicit and rarely dull “Consul” has a cultish appeal that could stimulate fest interest. Initial B.O. for the Jan. 8 release was solid but unspectacular.

Steamy early scenes take place in 1959 Manila, where the impeccable, white-jacketed Jaime (Molla), presented as an incorrigible seducer, takes full advantage of the local boys. Back in Barcelona, his father, Don Luis (Juli Mira), is concerned about the impact of Jaime’s lifestyle on the reputation of the family’s tobacco empire, particularly since Franco’s police are on the trail of commie sympathizers. Much is made of the conflict between family duties and fleshly urges, conformity and transgression.

Jaime’s literary cronies are publisher Carlos Barral (Josep Linuesa) and the refreshingly down-to earth Juan Marse (Alex Brendemuhl). Ironically, Jaime is refused membership in the Communist Party because he’s openly gay; he falls in with Bel (newcomer Bimba Bose, sometimes out of her depth), who becomes his muse and lover.

The script does well to bring something unique to each of the multiple relationships it portrays. And the period is portrayed with loving attention to detail, if too often suffused with the warm nostalgia of melodrama. Though the decor is often sumptuous, the focus is always on character rather than setting.

Molla, who has a tendency to overact, plays to his strengths by showing Jaime as a man of devilish aspect who sees his life in theatrical terms. The result is his finest perf in years, growing stronger as the pic proceeds and his character ages. Though the poet is aloof, fastidious, sexually avaricious and often downright unpleasant, Molla never lets us lose sight of his insecurities.

Inevitably for an item about arty types, the dialogue is sometimes of the overwrought “you’re in love with pain” variety. Extracts from the poems are judiciously used to comment on the action, but more time is spent on Jaime’s sex life (with multiple full-frontals) than inside his head.

Pic’s approach has caused a stir in Spain, with the real-life Marse, now a revered novelist, expressing his strong indignation in the national press.

Popular on Variety

The Consul of Sodom

Spain

Production: A Rodeo Media release of an Infoco, Radio Plus, Trivision, Steinweg Emotion Pictures production, with participation of TVE. (International sales: Rodeo Media, Madrid). Produced by Andres Vicente Gomez. Directed by Sigfrid Monleon. Screenplay, Joaquin Gorriz, Miguel A. Fernandez, based on the biography by Miguel Dalmau.

Crew: Camera (color), Jose David Garcia Montero; editor, Pablo Blanco; music, Joan Valent; art director, Anton Laguna; sound (Dolby Digital), Daniel Pena, David Rodriguez, Manuel Carrion. Reviewed at Academia de Cine, Madrid, Dec. 17, 2009. Running time: 112 MIN.

With: With: Jordi Molla, Bimba Bose, Alex Brendemuhl, Josep Linuesa, Isaac de los Reyes, Alfonso Begara, Juli Mira, Vicky Pena.

More Film

  • Antlers Trailer

    Guillermo Del Toro's 'Antlers' Starring Keri Russell Drops Chilling First Trailer

    Events take a dark turn for a small town school teacher, played by “The Americans'” Keri Russell, in the first teaser trailer for horror movie “Antlers,” produced by Guillermo del Toro. The footage, unveiled Tuesday, centers on a young boy (Jeremy T. Thomas) reading from a frightening short story he’s written as Russell listens. The [...]

  • Why Hollywood Should Tone Down Violence

    Why It's Time for Hollywood to Reconsider the Amount of Violence on Screen (Column)

    To put it mildly, we live in scary, intolerant, violent times. Since a lone gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, and killed 20 children, six adults and himself, there have been at least 2,187 mass shootings across America, resulting in the deaths of some 2,461 people and wounding more than [...]

  • James Bond Spectre

    James Bond Movie Title Revealed

    The latest James Bond adventure finally has a title. The 25th entry in the action spy series will be named “No Time to Die.” In the upcoming movie, Bond (Daniel Craig) has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA [...]

  • IFC Midnight Buys Brighton Sharbino Survival

    IFC Midnight Buys Survival Thriller 'Radioflash' (EXCLUSIVE)

    IFC Midnight has acquired U.S. rights to “Radioflash,” a survival thriller starring Dominic Monaghan and Brighton Sharbino, Variety has learned. The company will release the movie on Nov. 15. The film imagines a dystopian future, one in which an electric-magnetic pulse strikes America, knocking out all the power and pushing the country into the Dark [...]

  • Lee-Daniels-headshot

    Lee Daniels Entertainment Announces Diverse Creative Workshop

    Lee Daniels Entertainment and the online entertainment network Represent by OMV have launched a diversity-focused creative workshop to promote a diverse group of new writers. The workshop will be held from Sept. 25-28 in Los Angeles, with travel provided by American Airlines. Industry professionals will mentor aspiring creatives from underrepresented communities with workshops, meetings with [...]

  • Peter Fonda Obit Remembered

    Remembering Peter Fonda, Indie Revolutionary and Counterculture Icon (Column)

    Captain America has died. Not the spandex-clad Marvel superhero, but counterculture poster boy Peter Fonda, who shook up Hollywood and revolutionized the country’s sense of itself by co-writing, producing and starring in “Easy Rider” 50 years ago this summer — the same summer depicted in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Culture [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content